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Greece austerity measures ruled unconstitutional

The Council of State [official website], Greece's top administrative court, on Monday ruled that the country's wage cuts for police, military and firefighters as part of its austerity measures are unconstitutional. The Greek government was required [AFP report] to make certain cuts as a condition of its international bailout plan. According to recent reports, the decision was leaked [FT report] to Athens media and legal community prior to its official publication, which was not to be announced for another several weeks. Officials expect salary repayment to be backdated to 2012, the year of the proposed bailout and legislation supporting its efforts. Under the 2012 plan, the Greek government should continue to receive funding through 2016, but support from the European Union and European Central Bank was scheduled to end this year.

The austerity measure that faces heavy criticism was approved [JURIST report] by the Greek Parliament [official website, in Greek] in February 2012 securing a second bailout for the country to avoid bankruptcy amidst rioting and violence in downtown Athens. Tension was sparked right after the 199-74 vote for the austerity measure when protesters and police officials clashed resulting in looting and burning of buildings. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos [official profile] warned that rejecting the measure would jeopardize Greece's standing in the European community. In July of 2011, UN Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights [official website] Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina, warned [JURIST report] Greece that implementation of previous austerity measures to solve its economic crisis [BBC backgrounder] could result in serious violations of basic human rights. The Greek Parliament passed previous austerity measures with $40 billion in budget cuts, in addition to selling $72 billion in state assets, under pressure from them International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU and the European Central Bank [official websites], which want to stave off Europe's first sovereign default.

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